The office isn’t just a workplace; it’s where connections are formed around the proverbial water cooler.
Now, a new Tufts University study finds that office socialization can inspire better nutrition and weight management.
For six months, Tufts’ Energy Metabolism Laboratory sent health professionals to conduct weekly or bi-weekly lunch hour sessions on reduced-calorie diets and hunger management at two Boston-area firms.
The researchers tracked 133 employees, with a third of them in a “control” group, from two other firms that didn’t receive informational sessions.
The average weight loss was 18 pounds, a result that Susan Roberts, co-author of the study, says is about three times better than other workplace diet efforts. “This was different because we asked for volunteers for the study, other programs were given to all workers and we also had advice on behaviors,” says Roberts. “At the end of the program, people were crying, saying it changed their life,”
Moreover, many other workers who didn’t volunteer also lost weight, inspired by the participants, she said.
The study provides insight into how workplace weight loss can be successful at a time when many firms are involved in health efforts to keep insurance costs down.
The study was recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and “demonstrates the first effective corporate weight loss program which combines nutritional counseling with behavioral change management,” says Norman Gorin, CEO of Wellesley, Mass., Instinct Health Science, which is planning to expand the program.